Siblings allegedly held captive were robotic, marched for hours in circles, former neighbor says

Thirteen siblings were rescued from their parents' California home on Sunday.

ByMATT GUTMAN, MIKE REPPLIER, JENNIFER JOSEPH, ROBERT ZEPEDA, EAMON McNIFF, EMILY SHAPIRO and JENNER SMITH
January 18, 2018, 1:33 PM

— -- The 13 siblings who were rescued from their parents' home, where they had been allegedly held captive and, in some cases, starved and shackled, were seen walking military-style, single-file, according to a former neighbor.

The brothers and sisters -- ages 2 to 29 -- were found at their parents' home in Perris, California, Sunday, where some were allegedly "shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark and foul-smelling surroundings," the Riverside County Sheriff's Office said. They appeared malnourished and dirty, the sheriff's department said.

The victims have since been hospitalized for treatment while their parents, Louise Turpin and David Turpin, have been arrested.

Louise Turpin’s sister Elizabeth Flores told ABC News she is estranged from her sister, but recalled how the children's lives were extremely regimented when she lived with them two decades earlier. The eldest daughter had to ask permission to speak, she said.

Flores, who was in her late teens at the time, said her sister wouldn't allow her to invite friends over or allow her to call friends. She also described disturbing incidents involving her sister allegedly watching her shower with her husband, though she stressed that David Turpin never touched her.

Flores emphasized that she never witnessed any abuse of the children while she lived in the home. She added that she cares about her nieces and nephews greatly and hopes to see them overcome what they endured, saying that she wants them to know that she loves them and that family members tried to visit them over the years.

PHOTO: An investigation is underway in Perris, Calif., after 13 siblings ages 2 to 29 were allegedly held captive in a home, some shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks, authorities said.
An investigation is underway in Perris, Calif., after 13 siblings ages 2 to 29 were allegedly held captive in a home, some shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks, authorities said.
ABC News

Mike Clifford, a neighbor of the family at their former home in Murrieta, California, works the overnight shift and said he’d come home at midnight and see the children in the upstairs rooms marching from room to room, single-file. The marching would last for hours, he told ABC News.

On the few occasions that Clifford’s wife saw any of the children, she said they answered in unison, in a monotone and robotic way, according to Clifford.

Multiple neighbors said they only saw the children when they would pile in their family van late at night. They would also only return late at night.

PHOTO: Louise and David Turpin were arrested in the torture and child endangerment case in Perris, Calif.
Louise and David Turpin were arrested in the torture and child endangerment case in Perris, Calif.
David Allen Turpin/ Facebook

The victims were found after one of the children -- a 17-year-old girl -- allegedly escaped from the Southern California home through a window Sunday morning and called 911. Responding officers said the teen was slightly emaciated and "appeared to be only 10 years old."

Seven of the alleged victims were adults and the others were children as young as 2.

David Turpin, 57, and Louise Turpin, 49, were arrested on charges of torture and child endangerment, the sheriff's office said, and are expected to be arraigned Thursday. They will be represented by attorneys with the Riverside County Public Defender's Office.

PHOTO: Mugshots of David Turpin and Louise  Turpin of Perris, Calif., provided by the Riverside County Sheriff's Department, Jan. 15, 2018.
Mugshots of David Turpin and Louise Turpin of Perris, Calif., provided by the Riverside County Sheriff's Department, Jan. 15, 2018.
Riverside County Sheriff's Department
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